Marketing

YouTube Ads Best Practices

June 21, 2024
A girl looking at her laptop screen smiling and taking notes
Nandini Agarwal
Written by

Nandini Agarwal

Content Marketer

Table of Contents

What do you think is the best place for advertising? A place where you can reach the most people in your target audience! In this digital era, social media is one place where we can find a wide variety of audiences. The next big task is to evaluate which platform to use. YouTube has more than two billion users, ranking second after Google as the world’s most active social media platform. If your company is not advertising on YouTube, it may be missing out on a massive chunk of customers and the benefit of YouTube’s highly targeted audience feature.

YouTube is a video search engine where your ads can play before, during, or after YouTube videos. When you advertise on YouTube, you can use keyword targeting options available across all Google domains, including search history conducted on sites other than YouTube. Following keyword research, marketers may utilize this information to create strategies for reaching two types of audiences on YouTube: in-market and custom-intent audiences.

It is common to feel overwhelmed with numerous questions before starting to advertise on YouTube. You might have questions about

  1. How do I get the most out of YouTube advertising?
  2. What are the YouTube ad trends in 2023?
  3. How can I make attention-grabbing ads on YouTube?

Keep this curiosity intact, as we will guide you through all the things you need to know about rocking your ad on YouTube! Having a strategy for YouTube Ads is crucial because it helps you target the right people, grab their attention, and achieve your advertising goals effectively. Without a strategy, your ads might not reach the right viewers or make the impact you desire.

This blog is not only going to help you draft the most effective strategies for your next (or first) YouTube ad but will also make you familiar with how YouTube advertisements work! So buckle up and start taking notes, as we are going to unravel the best practices for YouTube advertising.    

Does YouTube Advertising Actually Work?

You might be wondering, “Whenever I see a YouTube ad, I impatiently wait for the skip button so I can get back to watching my video.” So does advertising on YouTube actually work? Well, the statistics can answer this question, as they never lie.

These statistics show the potential of YouTube advertising, but for your ad to not get skipped by the users, you need to keep a few tips and tricks in mind to capture your audience’s attention, which will be discussed shortly.

Different Types of YouTube Ads

Before you create a YouTube ad, you will need to choose the type of ad you want to display. With a variety of video ad formats, you can build engaging video campaigns that engage viewers on YouTube and other video partner sites in various ways. The following video ad types are available:

Skippable In-Stream Ads: These are video ads that viewers can skip after five seconds. They play before, during, or after a main video and give advertisers a chance to capture attention without forcing viewers to watch the entire ad.

Non-Skippable In-Stream Ads: These are video ads that viewers can’t skip. They are 15 seconds or shorter and play for a fixed duration before, during, or after a video. While they ensure more exposure, they might also be a bit more interruptive for viewers.

In-Feed Video Ads: These are short video ads that appear as part of a user’s feed while they scroll through content. They seamlessly blend in with the other posts, making them less intrusive.

Bumper Ads: Bumper ads are ultra-short video ads of just a few seconds (typically 6 seconds). They’re designed to deliver a quick and memorable message, making them ideal for viewers who want a brief but impactful experience.

Masthead Ads: These are the big players! Masthead ads are premium, high-visibility video ads that appear at the top of the YouTube homepage for 24 hours. They’re like a digital billboard for maximum exposure.

10 YouTube Advertising Tips

Now that you are aware of the different ad types and the reach of YouTube, it’s time to dive into the best practices that you should use before making your YouTube advertisements. Here are the top 10 tips for you to rock your ads:

1. Keep video ads between 15 and 60 seconds:

Depending on your advertisement goals, if you’re aiming for quick results, like getting people to act fast after seeing your ad, then videos that are 15 to 60 seconds long work best.

Google did a study where they found that a 30-second ad had the most views all the way through. After 45 seconds, the number of people watching the ad dropped significantly. So, try not to go beyond 60 seconds if you can, and try to make your videos around 30 seconds for the best chance of success.

think with google
Source: Google, Custom Brand Lift Survey, U.S., September 2015.

2. Engage, connect, and associate:

With our average attention span limited to just 8.25 seconds, captivating the viewer’s attention is the most important factor. You can engage the audience by starting with a hook that is unignorable, such as using upbeat music and humor, asking a compelling question, or including a famous celebrity or influencer, among many other possible ideas.

Once you have their attention, connect with them by using emotions. Understand what they require and the problems they face, and incorporate characters and situations that they can relate to. If you intend to group people by factors like age or interests, you can go even deeper.

When you empathize with their pain points, you will create a feeling of relatedness, which will make them trust you more.

Lastly, associate your brand with a solution to their problems. Answer their questions and address their pain points in your ad, along with displaying your brand logo at the right times. This will build associations with your brand easily.  

3. Make sure your brand stands out:

Having a great storyline, using bright visuals, and spending a good amount of money on your ad does not guarantee that people can recall what brand it represents. This is an important factor because the ad has no value without brand recognition. To nail this aspect, use the following tips:

  • Make sure your brand name/logo is presented in the ad for a good amount of time
  • Keep enough contrast between your brand and the background. This will make your brand stand out
  • Be aware of visual vampires—sometimes around the brand, there are better things that draw attention towards it. “Faces” are the biggest attraction magnets. If you put your brand next to a face, the attention will not really go to the brand.
  • Try to show your brand at the beginning and at the end. This is well explained by the phenomenon of primacy and recency, which states that people can recall best the information that was presented at the beginning and at the end.
  • Build brand associations in memory by being consistent with your brand identity. For example, Barbie movie’s marketing team was consistent in using the color pink, which created an association between pink and Barbie.

Pro tip: To be sure your ad is nailing the brand recognition aspect, use Junbi.ai to test your ad. It is an AI-powered YouTube creative insights platform. It predicts eye fixation on the video and will generate a brand attention score, which will give you an insight into how much attention your brand is getting.

Junbi Brand attention
Screenshot of Booking.com's ad on Junbi.ai, showing the brand attention score

4. Don’t let the distractors win:

YouTube is great for advertising, but there are many distractions around the ad that can take your viewer’s attention away, such as the comments section and other recommended videos. To minimize the effect of distractors, you can use the following tips:

  • Use faces in your ad, as we are naturally inclined as humans to notice faces, which draw the most attention
  • Use a clear focus point to guide your viewer’s attention towards one clear thing in the middle of the screen. This will keep their attention intact.
  • Use large, clear text with plenty of contrast to the background

You can use Junbi.ai to win over this advertising aspect. Junbi gives an Ad Breakthrough score in the form of a percentile after it processes your video. This lets you understand how well your ad stands out compared to other ads on YouTube.

Junbi Ad Breakthrough
Screenshot of Booking.com's ad on Junbi.ai, showing the ad breakthrough score

5. Avoid making a complex ad:

If your ad has many elements that grab attention, it will be difficult for the viewer to process it. Too many things happening at once lead to confusion and make it difficult for the brain to process the advertisement.

A good ad avoids having too many separate focal points or visual clutter. Try not to use split screens or make too many abrupt scene changes.

Fortunately, Junbi.ai helps with this as well. It displays a Cognitive Ease score, which gives a second-by-second insight into how visually complex your ad is at each moment. This is a goldmine for understanding what parts of your ads need to be changed and saves tons of time and money.

Junbi Cognitive ease
Screenshot of Booking.com's ad on Junbi.ai, showing the cognitive ease score

6. Have a clear and creative CTA:

If your goal is to generate more income, design ads that encourage action. Make it evident in your video what step you want the viewer to take—whether that’s buying your products, exploring a demonstration or piece of content, or signing up for emails. It’s most effective when this call for action is emphasized both visually and audibly.

To make your brand stand out, you could get creative with your CTA. For example, McDonald’s in Malaysia used reverse psychology by telling their viewers not to search for their product. Now, we humans are known to do exactly what we aren’t supposed to, so their CTA worked brilliantly in this context.

7. Your thumbnail matters:

For in-feed video ads, you will need a thumbnail. “Don’t judge a book by its cover” unfortunately does not apply here because these images are the first thing YouTube users see before clicking on your promotion; therefore, your thumbnail needs to be an attention magnet.

Your goal should be to opt for an image that showcases your content effectively and matches the message in your ad’s text or keywords. For instance, if your video displays someone drinking your coffee, go for a still that captures that moment with attention directed to your brand.

It is difficult to understand if the main elements placed in your creative will get the most attention. Since we are living in the world of AI, which makes things a lot easier, there is another amazing AI recommendation for you. Use expoze.io to test for attention with your creative. Upload the image/video and mark the main elements where you want people to pay attention. It will give you an attention score and display a heatmap, which will give you an insight into where the viewer’s attention is most of the time. According to these results, you can make changes in your work and make the best attention-grabbing thumbnails.

Expoze attention thumbnail
Screenshot of expoze.io predicting attention for Ed's Heinz Ad

8. Design ads for mobile:

87.7% of all YouTube views come from a mobile device. It is imperative that your creative be geared toward mobile devices. To do so, you can utilize vibrant settings and backdrops, maintain a close-up view, and make use of distinct text or visuals that effectively communicate your message, even on smaller mobile screens.

Furthermore, YouTube accommodates vertical video ads, enhancing the immersive aspect of mobile viewing. Regardless of whether you opt for a vertical or horizontal video, it’s advisable to preview it on a mobile device initially to ensure it appears appealing on a compact screen.

9. Test different YouTube Advertising Formats:

When you’re making YouTube Video Ads, you’ve got lots of choices for how they look. As mentioned above, there are different types of ad formats. The smart move is to try out different ad types in your campaigns to find out which ones work the best. Here are a few tips on what campaigns you could select a particular ad format for:

  • Skippable In-Stream Ads: Sales, Leads, Website traffic, Brand awareness and reach, Product and brand consideration
  • Non-Skippable In-Stream Ads: Brand awareness and reach
  • In-Feed Video Ads: Product and brand consideration
  • Bumper Ads: Brand awareness and reach
  • Masthead Ads: When you need to reach a large audience quickly, such as during a sales event, or raise awareness for a new product or service, use this approach. Only by prior arrangement with a Google salesperson are masthead advertisements available.

10. Link Your Google Ads Account, YouTube Account, and Google Analytics 4 Account:

By linking your Google Ads account to both your YouTube channel and your Google Analytics 4 profile for your website, you’ll gain access to valuable insights about your campaigns.

This connection allows you to gather more data, particularly about the performance of your ads. Moreover, it enables you to create specific target audiences for your YouTube video ads, focusing on those who have subscribed to your channel, viewed any of your videos, or watched particular ones.

If you’re curious about how your YouTube Ad campaigns are influencing your website’s performance, this linking process is key to understanding that impact. An additional benefit is the ability to activate auto-tagging, simplifying the tracking of your campaigns using Google Analytics.

Conclusion

It is nice to have structure and guidance, but in the end, you have to see what works best for you. Work smart, not hard, which is possible when you mix your creativity with AI. Before going public with your ad, pretest and optimize it to get the best results. Many marketers wait until after publishing their advertisement to see how well it performs by checking metrics such as views, click-through rate (CTR), or conversation rate. However, AI-powered attention prediction solutions such as Junbi.ai can give you insights into whether your ad will generate and hold attention.

So be creative and make the best YouTube ads by following these tips. If you want more guidance on how to advertise on YouTube, download this whitepaper. It gives an in-depth introductory insight into YouTube advertisements.

Related Articles
Kleenex 3D billboard. A child with a big snot bubble and a tissue box kept next to him.

How Do 3d Billboards Work?

Curious about 3D billboards? Find out how they grab attention, the technology behind them, and the diverse types you can see today.

READ MORE
CTV

What are the Advantages of Shifting from TV to Online Ads?

From traditional TV to YouTube, explore the rise of Connected TV (CTV) in advertising—targeted benefits and statistics show its impact.

READ MORE
A brain lit up with circuits and a hand on the left side with a phone which has YouTube logo on it

How to create an ad on YouTube by leveraging neuroscience? Google Masterclass Recap

Discover how attention works in the brain to craft captivating ads. Gain insights from our Google Masterclass event and elevate your strategy!

READ MORE

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

Stay ahead of the competition with a monthly summary of our top articles and new scientific research.